New archaeological finds in El Salvador
Tuesday 8, March 2011
Three renowned French archaeologists have been travelling through the country to document the existence of cave art. Their findings at Morazan and La Union shed new light on the ancient inhabitants of El Salvador.
French archaeologists Philippe Costa, Eric Gelliot and Simon Merci from the Sorbonne University in Paris have been travelling through eastern El Salvador to document cave art found in this part of the country and try to better understand who and when created this.
The experts focused on 11 archaeological sites which hadn’t been properly documented before, and of which there were just some vague mentions in documents from the 1920s and 30s. Their findings proved the country’s rich cultural heritage, showing a diversity of styles that correspond to different peoples and eras.
One of the most remarkable findings was in Morazan, where they found a site with Maya motifs, when it had been previously believed that the Maya civilisation hadn’t extended beyond the Lempa River. In the same site, they found the remains of a fortress which probably predated the arrival of the Spanish, and had only been briefly mentioned in documents in the 1940s.
At La Union, they found a rock carving of a snake which had great similarities with the Jaguar Disc at the Maya site of Cara Sucia in Ahuachapan (El Salvador), found at the end of the 20th century. This illustrates the movement and possible commercial routes followed by the pre-hispanic peoples, and may indicate that the Lempa River wasn’t a static border and may have shifted through the times.
The investigators were also particularly interested in pottery found as this will help them date the sites more accurately and establish whether their ancient inhabitants had contact with other cultures.
According to experts, eastern El Salvador was a kind of crossroads for different civilisations, and that can be appreciated in its rock art which features elements from different places.
The results of the French archaeologists’ research will be published in a year’s time and distributed to universities and museums in El Salvador as well as local authorities.
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